The need for decolonization in activist spaces and communities is the one thing that should be prioritized. Non-profit and non-governmental organizations receive most of their funding from western countries, and this can sometimes stifle their voices when it comes to challenging Eurocentric ideals and cultures that have in many cases harmed marginalized indigenous people and groups. This is especially true in the activist space of ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The western fixation on glamorizing this space specifically is centered in Eurocentric ideals.
Narrowing this down to feminist and women-centric activist spaces, decolonization is very important, as the main focus in these activist spaces should be intersectionality and inclusivity.
In order to decolonize these spaces, more thought has to be put into understanding the role colonialism plays in gender roles and dynamics, as well as the impact it has on our society today.
A good example of the role colonialism played in fostering gender inequality in Africa is the colonial Cash Crop system in Nigeria. This system worked by increasing the workload on women and making men the sole beneficiaries of women’s labor in farmlands. This led to an imbalance in women’s social-economic standing in Nigeria. We still see this in play in Nigeria as women provide 70% of the agricultural labor in Nigeria yet receive less than 10% of structured funding from the government and international organizations.
There’s a Nigerian proverb that says, “Na person wey wear shoe know where e dey pain am”, which loosely translates to you can never truly understand what a person is going through unless you’ve gone through said situation yourself. In order to foster home grown change, we need to collectively understand that we cannot solely depend on solutions from the global north because they simply would not know how the right way to address and solve issues plagued in the global south due to our diverse and intricate cultures, traditions, and norms. Allies from the global north know this – and these are the genuine individuals and organizations who amplify and uplift African activists.
Decolonizing activism means making indigenous voices dominant in activist spaces, actively seeking home-grown solutions, and supporting our communities knowing that with communal effort, and the right vision, change can be made.